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Anatomy of the Perfect Bedroom

When Lori Taylor of Hoschton got an e-mail about a design class at her local Pottery Barn, she knew she had to go.

"I have a friend who has asked me to help her with her bedroom," Taylor said. "We've finished the first floor, and now we are starting to move upstairs."

Taylor and 15 others gathered Feb. 24 at the Mall of Georgia Pottery Barn for a class titled "Designing the Perfect Bedroom." The free class was open to the public.

Pottery Barn consultant Melanie Hudson, who instructed the class, said when designing your house, you should start in the bedroom.

"Begin in the bedroom, because it is the one room you have to go to that is relaxing or a retreat," Taylor said. "Some people feel that the rooms that people see or the public space is more important, but don't forget the bedroom."

Kristin Abraham of the interior decorating blog on Web site Suite 101 (interiordecorating.suite101.com) agrees about the importance of a well-designed bedroom.

"Bedrooms have become a haven from the world and a place for relaxation," she said. "Fill your personal bedroom space with items that you love and that reflect your own personal style and personality."

At the class, Hudson offered basic tips on designing a bedroom and, more importantly for Taylor, answered questions about specific ideas and challenges.

"I don't have the experience to know everything," Taylor said. "She helped with the gut, feel and visual of it. She helped me think maybe some of the ideas I had weren't so out of reality."

The class covered basic furniture, lighting and window treatment options. Here are some tips from Hudson and Abraham on how to make a bedroom the showcase of your own unique style.

The Bed

Choosing either a full, queen or king bed is the first step. Find what size bed your room will

comfortably fit by

measuring the space you have, allowing room on either side for bedside tables. Standard sizes: full, 55" x 82"; queen, 62" x 86"; and king, 79" x 90."

Comfort is also important, Abraham noted. "People are concentrating on

getting a good, quality bed that is better for them," she said.Then choose whether your bed will have a headboard, footboard or both. This may also depend on the space you have. "If you are working with a small space, sometimes beds with footboards can be

imposing," Hudson said. "So you may choose just the headboard."

Storage

The next piece of furniture for a bedroom is normally a dresser or armoire. Although the height of these can vary, again, the deciding factor should rest with the size of the room. Tall dressers work better for smaller spaces. Armoires are popular for those who like a television in their bedroom, but don't like it to be visible all the time. These pieces are designed mainly for clothes storage, but Hudson said to think outside the box. "You can also use a dresser for something other than clothes, like storing books," she said.

The color

One of the most vital decisions for a bedroom is color choice. When choosing colors, Hudson said, the choice should be simple: Pick what you like. "This is a chance to show who you are," she said.

If you're having trouble deciding, Mother Nature is a good inspiration,

Abraham said: "Neutrals in warm soil and sand colors, bright tones that are

reminiscent of brilliant floral blooms, and accent colors that surround us every day, such as sky, sun, water, tree- and grass-inspired hues."

Pottery Barn offers a color palette that showcases their Benjamin Moore paint colors. They are available for free at any store. They also offer slipcover and curtain material swatches to take home, as well as 18 inch x 18 inch rug samples and wood finish swatches available for a $20 deposit refundable up to 30 days.

Lighting

It's often one of the most overlooked items in home decor, but it's one of the most important. Tailor your bedside lighting to your needs. "This aspect has been greatly ignored," Abraham said. "We'll see people take advantage of natural light more and use more efficient lighting in their homes. I think we'll also see a lot of task lighting." Hudson warned that while table lamps provide lots of light, they are not appropriately sized for a nightstand. Bedside lamps are made smaller and work for most average-size rooms.

Window treatments

There are lots of options here: sheers, wood blinds and drapes in luxe fabrics like silk or velvet. It's all a matter of selecting a finish that complements your personal style. "Bedding and window treatments are also going native, with floral themes becoming the trend in bedrooms," Abraham said. "But leaf motifs follow closely behind or are incorporated for a fairly Victorian feel. But don't expect the fluff and ruffles from the Victorian era - homes are more streamlined now, and architectural elements are the focus."

Nightstands

Nightstands serve as a source of symmetry and function in a room.

And you don't necessarily need your side tables to match, as long as they follow the same style of the room. "One can be feminine and one can be masculine," Hudson said. "They don't necessarily have to be matchy-matchy." Don't forget to go green, either. "Look for earth-, nature- and element-inspired design elements," Abraham said. "The green movement has taken the world by storm, and design elements are reflecting this in bold ways with new eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes."